The Magen Abraham central synagogue is located in the heart of Beirut, not far from the offices of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The synagogue is in grave need of repair but one can still see the Magen David that adorns every column of the building. Magen Abraham once symbolized the splendor of the city's opulent Jewish community. Now, it is roofless and the wind howls through it, symbolizing the remnants of the Jewish community that remain in Beirut. However, Aaron-Micael Beydoun, a 21-year-old American Muslim of Lebanese descent, recently launched a campaign to renovate the site. In his blog,"thejewsoflebanon.org," Beydoun also presents updated information regarding the besieged Jewish community in Lebanon. Almost 60 years after the establishment of the state of Israel, only a few dozen Jews remain in Beirut and other parts of the country. They keep their religious identity a secret, fearing that exposure might cause them harm in the currently tense situation in Lebanon. A tourist, who visited Beirut on Yom Kippur a year and a half ago, told Haaretz that he saw a few Jews visiting the graves of their loved ones to pray. They refused to talk to him. Community representatives do not appear in official ceremonies or public events, and any attempt to contact them is met by icy refusal. But their community is still a part of Lebanon's religious tapestry. The Jewish community is one of 17 religious groups officially recognized in that nation.
Read the Haaretz article.
Visit Beydoun's blog thejewsoflebanon.org.